WHAT IS IT ? #14

The cabinet is an oak commode either English or American.

Before indoor plumbing, a pitcher of warm water was placed on the top of the cabinet adjacent to a basin for washing at night. The drawers would hold wash cloths and towels.

Behind the lower doors the cabinet would hold a chamber pot, which could be used to avoid going out to the outhouse at night.

On A trip to Vienna in 1970 we stayed for a couple of nights at a gasthaus in a suburban neighborhood. This pot was in our room. The inn owner proudly said that it had been in the family for many generations but was no longer a necessity since they had modernized plumbing in their home a couple of years earlier. The pot was strictly for decoration.

That afternoon we visited the famous Schoenbrunn Palace and there was almost exactly the same pot, in brown coloring, in the King’s suite. The next morning at breakfast I asked the proprietor if he would be willing to sell his pot and to my surprise he said, “Yes.” I paid about $10 for the pot!



(Editor’s note: Palisades resident Howard Yonet has an interesting collection of curios from around the world and with his permission, Circling the News is publishing one a week. About the collector: Dr. Howard Yonet was born in Brooklyn in 1934 and attended Brooklyn College. He went to Baylor Medical School and then returned to do an internship at Bellevue Hospital. Yonet completed his residency at the Manhattan V.A. and the Montefiore Hospital. During this time he went skiing in Vermont and the Catskills, and while traveling found barns filled with early American pieces. This led to his interest in American Antiques.

In 1965, he married Daniele, who was originally from Nancy, France. During the Vietnam War, Yonet was drafted as a medical officer and stationed in Landstuhl, Germany (1966-1969). This was close to the French border, which meant he and Daniele and could visit her family.

While abroad, the Yonets took weekend trips through France and Italy, purchasing many interesting pieces at flea markets.

The family settled in Pacific Palisades in 1970 and Yonet practiced general radiology until 2006. He continued to acquire antiques and collectables at estate and garage sales and the Salvation Army Store. He also enjoyed looking for collectibles while traveling in Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Massachusetts. Daniele’s family helped add to his collection.)





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One Response to WHAT IS IT ? #14

  1. M says:

    SUPER!! Both pieces are lovely. Keep ‘what is it”? coming. I enjoy your pictures and
    information about how and where you acquired the treasures and also the info about each object. Thank you.

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